The Wren Conservation Group held their monthly practical work session in Aldersbrook Exchange Lands – once the Old Sewage Works – on Sunday 6th January. The task was to do some clearance of invasive bramble and some litter-picking, starting just inside the entrance from the lane by the riding-stables.
I elected to do some litter-picking, and armed with rubbish-sacks and a long-handled gripper, began to work my way along the boundary with the Empress Avenue (Aldersbrook) Allotment site.
There were a few bits of rubbish adjacent to the track – typically beer-cans, and perhaps not unexpectedly many with Central European brand names – but it really wasn't too bad. However, immediately adjacent to the boundary fence it was a different matter. Here, all manner of materials had been dumped, including drinks cans, of course, but ranging through plastic bags, netting material, glass, corrugated plastic roof coverings and broken flower pots. The last is a bit of a clue, for almost all of this material had been dumped from the allotments. In some parts there were – as they say - 'literally' mounds of stuff.
Now I would have thought that in essence people that hold allotments would also be people that had some degree of ecological outlook, but that appeared not to be the case. In fact I knew this not to be the case, because it was years ago that I first complained about this lack of respect for the allotment's neighbour, Epping Forest.
The task of clearing much of this accumulated waste was really too much for the Wren Group, and I suggested to the practical work leader that perhaps we should not even attempt it. In fact we collected 15-20 sacks full, plus some stuff too big to fit into sacks.
Individual allotment holders – almost certainly a minority – who are guilty of this fly-tipping should be taken to task by the allotment committee. If this doesn't work then possibly London Borough of Redbridge should bring the committee to task. And what of Epping Forest? The City of London have a responsibility to manage the Forest in an appropriate way, and they have certainly failed for years in this particular respect. I've included a photograph that I took in March 2008 which shows the problem then, and I suggest that all that has happened since is that the rubbish of then is now submerged under more recent stuff.
How can we get a grip on this problem as individuals if those who have, or have been given, responsibility are not carrying it out?
Paul Ferris, 6th December 2013